Turkey radar fix adds connection issue

TURKEY: A protocol signed in late December has brought a partial solution to opposition by the Turkish military to wind energy due to radar interference.

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The protocol states that wind farm developers will have to request a technical evaluation from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK). The results will be submitted to the army which may then reject the project, approve it or suggest modifications. Developers will be required to pay 750 TL (EUR365) to evaluate each megawatt of installed capacity they are proposing.

"The protocol is definitely a relief for developers," says Sule Erkoc, head of GL Garrad Hassan Turkey, adding that the army will have to supply sufficient information on the reasons for rejection. "(Developers) need to be informed more about the technical background of the evaluation process."

According to a regulation issued by the Turkish Electricity Transmission Company, companies are required to bid to be connected to a transformer station. Licences are awarded to the company that bids the highest fee, which must be paid for 20 years after commissioning of the wind farm.

Problems may arise if tenders are made before any radar issues are resolved, says Zeki Aybar Eris, CEO of local wind power producer Polat Enerji. "The companies will have to bid without being able to foresee the costs they may incur, and if the companies who win the tender get a rejection or face solutions bringing high costs because of the radar issue, lengthy legal processes would start. During these periods the substation capacities will have to remain unused."

The issue of radar interference arose in 2008 during permit applications for a 16MW wind farm in western Turkey that was considered too close to a radar station. The Turkish army then began to observe the effects of wind farms on radar, with the assistance of transport ministry experts and TUBITAK.

The protocol was signed by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the Energy Market Regulatory Authority, the army and TUBITAK.

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